Monday, July 26, 2010

To-Do Lists, Tyranny of the Urgent, and What's Important

Sometimes it's easy to let the important things in life slip by us because they aren't urgent. While I will be accountible to God for how I raise my children, no one on earth is going to hold me accountible in the next twenty-four hours. So, it's easy to let a teachable moment pass us by because laundry needs to be done, a letter needs to be written, or a meal needs to be made.

This is when tyranny of the urgent usually trumps the important. And unfortunately it's all too common in our rushing American culture. The things that are truly important are put off because the oil needs to be changed in the van, the lawn needs to be mowed, or we have a softball game to go to.

Sound familiar?

Last night our Pastor said something that reminded me of all this. He said, "You are doing those things that you consider to be important."


Let me rephrase that. "By choosing to do something instead of another thing, you are giving the thing you chose to do more importance than the thing you chose not to do."

So, is spending time at the beach more important than fellowship with other believers in church?

Is watching TV in the evening more important than a good night's sleep?

Is checking email more important than a quiet time with your Creator?

Is reading the newspaper more important than playing catch in the backyard with the kids?

Is surfing the internet more important than getting some exercise?

You get the idea... Those things we choose to do are more important to us than the things we choose not to do.

Perhaps one way to combat this is to add those "most important" things to our to-do lists. I love my to-do list. I love the feeling of being able to cross something off. It's a feeling of accomplishment, even if I only pulled fifty weeds! I set out to meet a goal, and I did! Perhaps we would be better off if these "most important" items were on our to-do lists. It's sad to think that "playing catch in the backyard with the kids" might have to go on a list to actually get done, but if that's what it takes, then so be it!

May this be a wake-up call to all of us to choose to spend our time doing the things that are indeed more important.

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